Before I was immersed in studying painting in college, I made quite a few acrylic paintings in high school. This piece was part of a series I made where I played around with using color to convey different moods. As you can see here, I used cool colors to convey a somber tone. I also painted the background a dark color that I lightened up a bit by painting a thin layer of white paint over it.
I made this oil pastel self portrait drawing during my sophomore year of college. At that time, I was taking quite a few studio art classes. It’s also around the time I decided that I was going to pick up art as a double major, instead of just minoring in it.
I really enjoyed working on the face and eyes for this piece, although the hand was a bit of a struggle. I thought it was fitting to share a piece from my past, to illustrate how much your work can change and develop over time. Your work won’t always be “perfect” or turn out the way you’d like it to, but each new work of art you make will help you grow a little more as an artist.
I made this charcoal drawing during my sophomore year of college. At the time, I was taking quite a few studio art classes, and often stayed at the studio pretty late working on artwork. Still life has always been a subject matter I’ve struggled with, simply because I haven’t found it to be all that exciting (I was more interested in figurative artwork or animal portraits). I thought this particular still life was a little unusual since it involved an animal skull, instead of the usual bowl of fruit or empty kitchenware. I also enjoyed working with charcoal since it can get pretty messy, which keeps things interesting.
Back in college I kept a few sketchbooks where I’d work on studies of various subjects. This color pencil drawing is from one of those sketchbooks, when I was studying different expressions for my upcoming series of collage portraits for my senior thesis. I was also playing around with different color schemes, which is why this is done with cool colors.
This still life oil painting is a piece that I made back in college during my freshman year. I made this back when I was studying painting in school, although I still worked on collages in my free time. I remember that this was made during a time when I was still learning the ins and outs of mixing and blending paint colors, so it isn’t as expressive as some of my other paintings.
“In the Garden” is a collage that I made back when I was in high school. It was made when I first started experimenting with collage. I had deemed the collage “finished,” and set it aside for some time. Then a couple of years later, when I was in college, I came across the collage and decided it wasn’t finished yet. So I proceeded to add in some more detailing with shadows and highlights, and then felt like it was closer to being “done.”
This might sound odd, but I never really feel like a work of art that I’m working on is ever finished. I simply give up on it after a certain amount of time. This is the only collage I’ve ever revisited after some time, however, I’m thinking it might be a good idea to start getting into the habit of reworking my older artwork.
This is a graphite self portrait drawing that I did back in high school – I think I was around 16 at the time that I made this. I remember that I had a mentor at a local gallery back then, an artist who gave me feedback on a few of my works of art. This portrait was made during the mentorship program, and the last piece I created during the program was this self portrait painting.
In general, I think that self portraits are really difficult to do. It’s really tough to portray yourself, especially since we have so many assumptions about how we look based on the everyday routine of looking in the mirror. It’s difficult to take a step back and peer at yourself like an outsider in order to create a portrait. As a result, I feel like most of my self portraits don’t entirely capture the way I look, however I do like to refer to them as portraits that are version of myself.
I think this is one of the first self portrait paintings I ever made. I created this piece back in high school – I think I was around sixteen at the time. It was also the first time I really learned how to mix acrylic paints and create a wash before I started the whole painting process. You can see a little bit of purple from the purple wash shining through, since I used it to help with the look of the shadows.
I made this painting through a mentor program at the Torpedo Factory Art Center in Alexandria, Virginia. I was paired with a painter who taught me about the basics of painting. I met with her about once a week, and she critiqued my work and gave me some helpful advice. In fact, some of her advice is something I still remember and think about when I make artwork even today. She told me that I shouldn’t assume what things look like in my mind, I should pay attention to all the shapes that make up objects in real life. You can see I did a little bit of assuming with this piece since my eyes are football shaped instead of being more rounded.
What’s a little amusing about this piece is that you can see that I had orange streaks in my hair at the time. I had a habit of dying my hair a lot in those days.
Again, self portraits are pretty tough, and you can tell that I was new to the painting process. This piece just goes to show that you have to start somewhere.
This is a charcoal drawing that I did back in college, when we were studying the figure. In college I really enjoyed making figurative artwork, especially portraits. People really fascinated me, as well as the broad range of emotion that can be conveyed in different facial expressions. I also liked how every person has something about them that makes them their own character.
Anyway, this drawing really does show off that I was way more interested in drawing the sitter than capturing the environment he was in. I remember my professor critiqued me on not putting as much effort into his surroundings. What can I say? People are more interesting to me than a classroom full of empty chairs.
The other day, I mentioned that I was going through old sketchbooks. This is actually another one of the drawings I came across – it’s a self portrait that I made with color pencil.
I’m realizing I really need to revisit other mediums and play around with them. These older drawings of mine are inspiring me to start changing things up a bit. As much as I enjoy making collages, I’m gearing up to start having my variety in my artistic life.